The popularity of raised garden beds has made many curious to know if they are essential for survival gardening. If you are also on the same boat and can’t seem to decide between raised garden beds or in-ground beds, let us make it easy for you.
Raised garden beds aren’t necessary but can be highly useful in certain conditions. It includes unsuitable soil, decreased mobility, and protection from foot traffic and heavy rains. Besides, if you want a time and space-efficient garden that requires less management, building raised beds is your best bet.
The following article contains a detailed overview of the pros and cons of raised garden beds. Upon going through all of them, you will figure out if you should construct raised beds in your garden or drop the idea and go with in-ground beds.
6 Reasons Raised Garden Beds Are Essential For You
A raised garden bed is mounded soil raised above the ground level and is usually kept enclosed in a structure forming a planting bed. The frame can be made of wood, rock, concrete, or other materials. Most gardeners prefer to keep raised beds in rectangular shapes, but they can also be of irregular shapes.
If you are dealing with one or more of the following conditions, in that case, building a raised garden bed will be more fruitful for you.
Your Garden Soil is Unsuitable for Planting
What do you do when your garden soil is sandy, contaminated, or low in nutrients? You can build raised garden beds. It allows you to cultivate plants without relying on or improving the native soil in your garden.
In a raised garden bed, you have control over the soil quality as you determine what goes into it. You can use specific formulations and ratios for fertilizer and compost to enhance soil health, thus improving the overall vegetable growth. If certain areas in your garden contain good soil, you can scrape it all together and fill in the raised bed.
You Have Limited Mobility
Probably the most apparent advantage of raised garden beds is the increased height. It makes the planting area easily accessible for people having difficulty bending and stooping. Gardeners with limited mobility and elderly people who are becoming older and stiffer can’t go any wrong by opting for raised garden beds over in-ground gardens.
If you deal with back pain but your love for gardening is too much to let anything stop you, building raised beds is the best option.
Your Garden Need Protection from Footsteps
Being enclosed by a solid box-like structure, a raised garden bed provides protection against footsteps that further prevents soil compaction and plant damage. Especially when you have children playing around your garden area, you can’t trust them not to walk all over it, ruining the plantation.
You Reside in Heavy Rains Area
Is your garden prone to flooding? If yes, you should erect raised beds. They drain better and prevent runoff. The structural support keeps the soil intact and keeps it from erosion. You can rest assured that your plants won’t drown even in heavy rains.
Better soil drainage helps the soil dry and warm faster in the spring. It provides longer growing seasons and improves the soil conditions allowing for a healthy yield.
You Want a Space-Efficient Garden
Do you want to grow intensively but have a limited place? Raised beds are used in small-plot gardening as they allow you to grow more in less space. Moreover, you can keep the structure as you please – formal or informal, rectangular or irregular.
It certainly takes time and effort to build a raised planted bed, but you will thank yourself for constructing one in the long run. The borders keep the soil well-maintained and plants intact and prevent children, including yourself, from trampling your tiny plants.
You are Adamant About Easier Maintenance
Raised bed gardening is a perfect choice for people who don’t have time to garden all day. The enclosed structure avoids soil compaction, leaving minimal requirement for seasonal tilling. In raised beds, vegetables are planted much closer, which helps prevent excessive weed growth.
If your garden is prone to ground-dwelling moles, line the bottom of the bed using poultry wire or hardware cloth. To protect your plants from frosts, you can cover them using the support of the frame. It takes time to set up a raised bed garden, but once it’s stabilized, there will be little need for maintenance.
Downsides of Raised Garden Beds
Like every coin has two sides, raised bed gardening comes with its fair share of cons.
Expensive and Takes Effort
Building a raised garden bed requires you to buy a frame and soil, assemble the structure and fill it. You need a high-quality wood frame if you want the bed to last long. The inexpensive wood frames sold by local DIY stores rot easily when exposed to dirt and rain.
Even if you save on compost by mixing it with cheaper or free sources of manure, the cost of constructing and maintaining a raised garden will still be considerably high.
Get Thirsty Quickly
Due to less compaction, raised beds have better water drainage. However, it becomes a problem during extreme temperatures. When it’s hot outside, the soil gets dry quickly and requires watering often.
Raised garden beds limit the type of vegetables you can plant. Some require space to grow, such as corn and squash plants can’t be well-cultivated in an intensively farmed garden. If you have a good stretch in your garden, you can erect several beds for various crops, but it’s expensive and will take you a lot of time.
Won’t Last Forever
This is not really a downside because, let’s face it – nothing lasts forever. The lifespan of raised bed mainly depends on your temperatures, moisture levels, presence of pests like termites, and salt in the air.
The quality of the building material used to erect raised beds will determine how long it withstands the above factors.
Raised Garden Beds: Essential or Trendy Nonsense?
If you were expecting a straightforward or binary (yes or no) answer, we have to disappoint you on this.
A raised garden bed can be necessary for some and a good-for-nothing technique for others. As a gardener, it’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons and decide what the case for you is.
There are different methods for making survival gardening efficient, and building raised garden beds is one of them. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as essential. Simply choose what suits you and your garden well.